May 18th 

Following Jesus

"Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  Luke 9:23 

Jesus spoke these words that reveal the cost of living for God.   When we place faith in Jesus and make him “Lord” of our lives, we are choosing him as our new master instead of the sin we’d been enslaved to in the past.  Each day, we are presented with many daily choices by which we can reconfirm that Jesus is our master and not sin.   We can look at these daily choices or temptations as opportunities to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. 

People involved in sex addictions often find temptations irresistible.  They’ve been used to giving in to temptations for so long that their spiritual defenses are weak.  Indeed When we allow sin to be our master, our spiritual walls of defense are broken down.  Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”   

The truth is that it is possible with God’s help to regain spiritual strength and gain victory over the temptations we face .  Through Christ, we can stop falling to those seemingly irresistible urges.  He gives us strength through the Holy Spirit to stop responding to our sinful desires and to start obeying Jesus.  Doing so may involve some temporary pain of self-denial, which will in turn be replaced with the joy and peace of God (Galatians 5:22-23).  

Here are some practical steps to bolstering our daily walk with Christ:

1) Ask God to help you each day during your quiet time.  Ask him to show you how and when to resist the common temptations you face. 

2) Steer clear of the obvious situations of temptation that you can avoid.

3) If you are tempted, ask God for help and a way out of the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Believe that God will help you and then look for the way out. 

4) Fix your thoughts on Jesus.  Following Jesus means that things are going to have to change in our lifestyle.  We can not continue living in our worldly mindset and expect to please God.  We have to have a Christ-centered mindset.  The most basic way to change our mindset is to load our mind with God’s Word.  One of the best ways to load our mind with the Word is to study it daily.  (see Quiet Times)  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I desire to follow you.  I commit myself to denying my sinful desires and daily taking up my cross.  Please strengthen me by your Spirit to resist temptations and bring my body, soul and spirit into obedience to you.  I am your servant.  I praise you and thank you. In your name I pray, Amen.”